Clichéd and flat, with prose that stalls the thrills.



An interplanetary conspiracy unfolds in Lim’s energetic but flawed sci-fi thriller.

After a brief prologue set in Antarctica, the main story gets underway when Jason and Bates discover a secret project—the creation of humanoid slaves through surgical techniques designed to remove all sexual urges and autonomy—within another secret project they’d already known about: the formation of a space fleet operating out of secret bases on the moon and Mars. When Bates is killed, Jason is forced to find new allies, since their discovery has led them into a larger conspiracy involving aliens, warfare and complications with dire consequences for all of humanity. However, with the shadowy New World Order opposing Jason’s efforts at every turn, the odds aren’t in his favor. As Lim makes clear in the short notes that bookend the narrative, he brings a great deal of enthusiasm and excitement to his work, but the actual work on the page is so structurally flawed that deciphering the meaning of the text, the characters involved or even what is supposed to be happening at any given point can be a difficult task. Choppy sentences with poor punctuation, flagrantly misused homophones (e.g., aloud/allowed, were/where, deferent/different) and an excess of adverbs are only some of the fundamental problems on display. Even if patient readers are willing to forgive the mangled language, the actual writing beyond the structural problems exhibits further issues. The narrative unfolds along well-worn paths, bringing in copious references to Area 51, Roswell and an alien race referred to as the Grays—clichés not used here in interesting or unusual ways. This adherence to convention is also present in similarly uninventive characterizations and dialogue. In the end, the book’s most commendable trait is the author’s unbridled enthusiasm.

Clichéd and flat, with prose that stalls the thrills.

Pub Date: April 24, 2013

ISBN: 978-1480232587

Page Count: 238

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2013

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A straightforward, carefully detailed presentation of how ``fruit comes from flowers,'' from winter's snow-covered buds through pollination and growth to ripening and harvest. Like the text, the illustrations are admirably clear and attractive, including the larger-than-life depiction of the parts of the flower at different stages. An excellent contribution to the solidly useful ``Let's-Read-and-Find-Out-Science'' series. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 1992

ISBN: 0-06-020055-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1991

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An authoritative, engaging study of plant life, accessible to younger readers as well as adults.


A neurobiologist reveals the interconnectedness of the natural world through stories of plant migration.

In this slim but well-packed book, Mancuso (Plant Science/Univ. of Florence; The Revolutionary Genius of Plants: A New Understanding of Plant Intelligence and Behavior, 2018, etc.) presents an illuminating and surprisingly lively study of plant life. He smoothly balances expansive historical exploration with recent scientific research through stories of how various plant species are capable of migrating to locations throughout the world by means of air, water, and even via animals. They often continue to thrive in spite of dire obstacles and environments. One example is the response of plants following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Three decades later, the abandoned “Exclusion Zone” is now entirely covered by an enormous assortment of thriving plants. Mancuso also tracks the journeys of several species that might be regarded as invasive. “Why…do we insist on labeling as ‘invasive’ all those plants that, with great success, have managed to occupy new territories?” asks the author. “On a closer look, the invasive plants of today are the native flora of the future, just as the invasive species of the past are a fundamental part of our ecosystem today.” Throughout, Mancuso persuasively articulates why an understanding and appreciation of how nature is interconnected is vital to the future of our planet. “In nature everything is connected,” he writes. “This simple law that humans don’t seem to understand has a corollary: the extinction of a species, besides being a calamity in and of itself, has unforeseeable consequences for the system to which the species belongs.” The book is not without flaws. The loosely imagined watercolor renderings are vague and fail to effectively complement Mancuso’s richly descriptive prose or satisfy readers’ curiosity. Even without actual photos and maps, it would have been beneficial to readers to include more finely detailed plant and map renderings.

An authoritative, engaging study of plant life, accessible to younger readers as well as adults.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63542-991-6

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Other Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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